Happy belated Thanksgiving all!
This week has been super productive! Despite catching a cold and Thanksgiving festivities, I managed to wrap lots of pieces up. I burned my fingers pretty badly making one of the busts, but all in all I'm pretty darned happy with how much I managed to finish. Here are the four busts I have so far!
The far left is the newest. She's covered in sugar coated flowers. The flowers are the red carnations a lot of Dominican women wear to greet new arrivals in the airports and resorts. It's kind of kitschy and over done. The whole look is this colonial type outfit with layers of lacey skirts and off the shoulder tops. Its kind of a typical "Latina" costume but the references historically speaking are straight from the Spanish conquistadors stylistic preferences. I wanted to use something that's cheesy and crafty like these fabric flowers and make them even more kitschy by coating them in sugar. I wanted to burn the sugar too make it melty and syrupy too. I like the idea of the bust being stained and dripped on with something that is supposed to be attractive and sweet and yet also a symbolizes the sugar slave trade that took over/destroyed much of the Caribbean. Here are closer views of the busts below:
From top to bottom they are titled "Azuuucaar!", "Borron y Cuenta Nueva (Vejigante)", "La Mancha de Platano". Translation: "Sugar", "Let bygones be bygones or Erase and Start Anew", "The Stain of the Plantain".
This is the newest in progress bust. Its title is "Polo Bueno, Pelo Malo, Pero, Pelo". Translation "Good hair, Bad hair, but, hair". My great grandmother had extremely long hair all of her life and lots of women in my family still have their long hair. Many others chose to cut it. Some in an act of defiance and others because they were just tired of it. There's also so many racial issues tied up in hair alone. Our African ancestry is seemingly embedded in our hair. Fair hair and soft, less textured hair is preferred over curlier dark hair. It's a preference steeped in our complicated colonial history and heavy burden we all carry. My hair is in between. I cut mine shorter and shorter as I got older and now have tightly cropped hair like my mom. I never thought I would do it. I remember having to straighten my hair with an iron and "wear it long" for family coming to the mainland from Puerto Rico. It was my cape. My aunts loved how long and soft it was and yet they probably knew how much work it took to get it that way. I wanted this piece to be voluminous and have tons of differently textured hair. I sat with it for a while before I got the shapes I wanted. I really like how far it's come. I'm not sure about the hanging loop on the side or the long braids yet. I'm tempted to do another. I also coated the hair in hair dye and let it drip on the bust to bring a more cohesive layer to it all.
I have a few more objects in the works that aren't busts. I'm going to write about those another day.
Goodbye for now!
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This blog functions as a space for me to articulate what goes into making my artwork.